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UC Davis Men Face Key Matches On Central Coast

4/14/2016

Big West Tennis Release No. 13

Something has got to give as UC Davis travels to UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly this week in a battle of three conference unbeatens on the men's tennis side.

BIG WEST AT A GLANCE


Big Men’s Tennis Matches On Tap
It’s a light men’s tennis schedule this week in the Big West, but heavy on importance.  UC Davis makes a critical Central Coast trek to UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly in a battle between a trio of unbeaten teams in the conference standings.  The Gauchos and Mustangs are both 3-0 in league play, while the Aggies begin the roadtrip 2-0.

All three squads appear to be peaking at the right time as they have designs on capturing the Big West regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which begins later this month at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

UC Davis had a 12-match winning streak snapped on Wednesday against the likes of No. 16 California, but at 15-4, is just one win away from tying the program’s Division I record for victories.  Cal Poly has won four straight and nine of its last 11 matches.  UCSB has reeled off wins in seven of its last eight and 12 of its last 15 contests.

The Aggies are attempting to capture their second straight regular season crown (co-honors in 2015), the Mustangs last won in 2013, and the Gauchos are seeking their first title since 2008.

Critical Clash Ahead In Women’s Tennis
Traditional power Long Beach State hosts young upstart Cal State Fullerton in a match with Big West title implications this Friday at the Rhodes Tennis Center.

On the one hand, the Beach rides a 27-match winning streak in regular season matches against Big West competition into the clash with the Titans.  LBSU (7-0) is attempting to finish conference play for the third straight year.  It’s a feat that the program is accustomed to, having pulled it off in seven times in the previous 10 seasons.  The Beach owns a current eight-match winning streak, and a win wraps up not only the regular season crown but the No. 1 seed in the Big West Tournament.  LBSU is 83-3 in conference play under head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello since 2006.

Conversely, the Titans are enjoying a banner year under the tutelage of third-year head coach Dianne Matias.  CSF has set program records for overall wins (17) and conference victories (6), and a win over LBSU would give the Titans a share of their first-ever Big West title.  The showdown features two of the nation’s top doubles teams, with No. 37-ranked Laura Eales and Hayley Thompson of LBSU taking on the CSF pairing of No. 45-ranked Alexis Valenzuela and Camille De Leon.  Valenzuela, who is 16-3 in singles this season, takes on No. 1 counterpart Maeva Razakasoa in a battle between a pair of two-time first team all-conference honorees.  Razakasoa enters the week ranked No. 72 nationally in the Oracle/ITA rankings.

Do Not Sleep On The Gauchos
One team keenly aware of Friday’s women’s match in Long Beach is UC Santa Barbara.  The Gauchos also could snag a three-way share of the regular season title with a win on Saturday over Blue-Green rival Cal Poly.  UCSB improved to 6-1 in league play with last week’s 5-2 victory at CSF.  The Gauchos are ranked No. 75 nationally this week.